The Railways has decided to bar any new appointments to the post of 'khalasis' or 'bungalow peons' who work at the residences of senior officials, but allowed general managers to fill up such vacant posts with "regular employees" or "substitute" telephone attendant-cum-dak 'khalasis' (TADKs), according to an order.
While a letter in August by the Railway Board indicated that the colonial-era practice of appointing 'khalasis' will be completely done away with, the current order issued on December 1 indicated that it would be continued, albeit with no fresh appointments, but posted from among the existing pool.
"The policy for appointment of TADK will henceforth be as under Engagement of fresh face substitute as TADK is discontinued with effect from 6.8.2020," the order stated.
"As regards posts of TADK that are currently vacant, General Managers may review requirement/necessity for continuing with such posts, keeping in view operational and functional consideration. "Such posts may be filled from substitute TADKs available in Indian Railways. Alternatively, these posts may also be filled by regular employees, from any unit in Indian Railways, subject to willingness of the employee and the officer concerned. The lien and seniority of above employees shall be protected in their parent cadre," it said.
The order stated that existing posts of incumbent TADKs would continue and their employment would be governed by existing rules.
Upon joining the Railways as temporary staff, TADKs become Group D staff following a screening process after a period of around three years.
In earlier days, officers posted in remote areas or working in the field during odd hours would be provided a TADK to ensure security for his family, as well as do odd official work like take phone calls or ferry files. These TADK staff would usually become ticket examiners, porters, mechanics for air-conditioned coaches and cooks in the running room.
However, over the years, the role was relegated to that of domestic helps and then to office peons, officials said.
Amid complaints of abuse and ill-treatment, the Railways had ordered a review of the post, and in 2014, constituted a joint secretary-level committee of nine members of the Railway Board to review the policy.
A TADK staff, who have a minimum educational qualification of up to Class 8, are paid around Rs 20,000-22,000 per month and given benefits akin to Group D staff of the Railways.
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